Woods Lamps - Background:

Doctor Robert W Woods - Modern Wizard of the LaboratoryProfessor Robert W. Wood is is undoubtedly the "Father of Ultraviolet Photography". His work in the early 1900's led to the use of UV light for forensic and medical skin and eye detection.

He was the first to record the ultraviolet fluorescence phenomenon which led to the common usage of UV light today for skin and forensic inspection.

Doctor Robert W Woods - Modern Wizard of the Laboratory book coverDoctor Robert W. Wood's book "Modern Wizard of the Laboratory" can still be found at some of the used book store sites such as or
Dr. Woods work was originally done using specialized filters which blocked all but the UV spectrum and it was this light he used to illuminate specimens to be photographed.

Today we use specialized fluorescent lights rather than filtered light to illuminate the subject for inspection.

Here are a links to articles about him and the Wood's Lamp.

A Woods Lamp is typically used in a physician's office, emergency rooms and patients in their homes to track the progress of treatment of diseases such as Vitiligo.

Woods Lamps detect
  • Ringworm
  • Fungus/fungal infections
  • Corneal Scratches.
  • Foreign bodies in the eye.
  • Vitiligo.
  • Blocked tear ducts.
  • Acne.
  • Erythasma
  • Tinea versicolor
  • Microsporum Canis
  • Criminology (for emergency rooms)
  • Scabies.
  • Alopecia
  • Porphyria
  • Bacterial Infections.
  • Many other skin conditions.

Wood's lamp illumination...

Wood's lamp emits ultraviolet light and can be a diagnostic aid in determining if someone has a fungal or bacterial infection on the skin or scalp.

If there is an infection on the area where the Wood's lamp is illuminating, the area will normally fluoresce. Normal skin does not fluoresce, or shine, under ultraviolet light.